This is probably the question I get asked the most, either by nosy types who seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone how much money they earn, or by newer bloggers wanting some advice. It’s also one of the biggest areas of The Blogcademy and certainly the section that garners the most discussion.
So today I’m sharing some ideas on how you might want to monetise your blog. But I’d caution you to just take these ideas as hard and fast rules. The great thing about being a blogger is that there are no rules or restrictions on what you can try to make an income. Blogging is all about forging your own path, coming up with your own ideas and going your own way. So think of this article as a jumping off point for starting to dream up your next light bulb moment.
Diversify your income streams
The most important thing to realise is that, as a blogger, it is imperative to diversify your income streams – the classic don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Having some form of advertising in place is usually the first port of call for anybody wanting to monetise a website, but what if businesses and brands decide that they don’t want to have blog ads any longer? If the bottom does fall out of digital advertising, you don’t want this to be the only way you pay your rent.
While I don’t think you should stretch yourself too thin or have too much going on (it can be difficult to keep up with and confusing for your readers) at least three or four revenue streams, in my opinion, would be advisable.
This is how I handle all the adverts on Rock n Roll Bride. So basically if someone wants an advert on my site, they email me directly about it and we take it from there. The main reasons I do it this way and not through a third party like an ad network (see below) is because a) I can have complete control over who is represented on the site and b) I don’t have to give anyone else a cut of the profits!
I don’t know why… but sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed you know? So instead of sitting here in a strop, resisting the urge to post passive aggressive tweets all day, I’m going to log off, take Gareth for lunch and blow of some steam.
Sometime late last year I got an email from Kat asking if I wanted to go to Paris to do a shoot with her, Gala & Shauna. My answer was of course an enthusiastic ”Oui ma Petit Filous!!” They’d bagged themselves a fabulous apartment that we shot in, but of course I also wanted some photos by the Eiffel Tower. On the Eurostar on our return, I got to thinking about the tower and its purpose in the city. Sure, it’s a big tourist pull, but I started to wonder how on earth it got built in the first place and why it’s even there at all. So I did some research on the most recognisable iconic landmark in the French capital.
Paris is a beautiful city with plenty of amazing architecture, lots of culture and umpteen things to do but before the tower was built, many of its citizens were moving away and tourists were not exactly flocking there. Commissioned for the Exposition Universelle, a world fair held in Paris in 1889, Monsieur Eiffel’s brief was to create a temporary structure to mark the entrance to the fair. Despite facing much criticism, he seized the opportunity and designed the tallest structure in the world at that time. Once completed, visitors to Paris raved about the innovative lattice tower, left armed with their photographs and talked non-stop of going up in the amazing lifts or dining in its fine restaurant with amazing views. Suddenly the fortune of Paris had improved and these visitors were filling up the hotels and cafes. People rapidly moved back to Paris and it was suddenly one of the most exciting and most visited capital cities in the world. So much so that the decision was made to never take it down, and to this day no trip to the city of love is complete without a visit.
Photography: Raspberry Cupcakes
Here are this week’s links to keep you learning. Have you read anything great in the past seven days? I’d love for you to share your links in the comments (or hit me up on twitter). I’m actually taking a two week hiatus from Business Bites after this post because I’m off up a mountain with my family (Lord, give me strength). But I’ll be back and fit to bursting with new goodies nearer the end of the month. I am genuinely looking forward to a proper holiday though (i.e. one that’s not coupled with a work trip as well) and I’m sure I’ll be raring to go as soon as I get back.
March is a really busy month for me. As soon as I return from (apres) skiing I’m heading back down to the Photography Farm (won’t you come? There are still spaces left) and the week after that I’m hopping over the pond again for two more Blogcademys! Sheesh, no rest for the wicked huh? I’m a little nervous about how I’m going to keep up with my links round up posts this month as I’m spending so much time offline. Maybe I need to take a leaf out of Gala’s book, who’s gone down to doing her Carousel post just once a month? Hum…
♥ Emma is embracing fearlessness
♥ Signal vs Causes
♥ The one thing that will make you more productive
♥ Invest in yourself – and others!
♥ Why angry customers give you the best feedback
♥ 5 tips for blogging on a busy schedule
♥ Blogging can open both professional & personal doors... and not everyone has to ‘get’ it
♥ Freelance ain’t free
♥ Fashion bloggers: then & now – having a look back to how the big league all looked when they first started is always a fun past time
Advertising on blogs, specifically wedding blogs, is still quite a new and therefore alien concept to many businesses. Not a lot of people really understand it and simply think that flinging an advert or sponsored post up on a wedding blog will instantly conjure a sparkly magic wand that will send a squillion enquiries their way. I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but it doesn’t really work like that. You have to know what you’re doing, you have to have a strategy in place and you have to work and rework at it to keep your marketing campaign effective.
So today I’m going to lift the lid on some of those secrets as well as share with you some of my top tips for getting the best out of your online marketing.
1. Show exactly what you do with the image you choose
This is not the time to be cryptic! Sure it sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many an advertiser get this very wrong. If you’re a photographer make sure the image you choose shows that – don’t pick a pretty shot of a bunch of flowers. To the casual observer it will look like you’re a florist.
2. Make sure the text is legible
You have a limited space to use so this is even more vital than usual. Use fonts that are easy to read and colour combinations that stand out but don’t assault the eyes. Pick just one or two fonts and two or three core colours and don’t overcomplicate it. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar – or even better, get someone else to check it for you.
3. Make the advert relevant to the blog
If you’re advertising on an alternative wedding blog like this one, don’t choose an image from a really traditional wedding for your advert. The more colourful, quirky and alternative looking ads always perform better on my site but this is not a uniform rule across the board!
Get to know the blog that you are wanting to advertise on. What kind of content do they post and what kind of weddings or images seem to get the best reaction from their readers? (pro tip: check the comments on the blog and on their facebook page).
4. Stand out from the crowd!
Make your ad as engaging and eye-catching as possible. This is not the time to be shy! Ad spaces are generally quite small so be sure to use the space you have in the best way you can. Fill the space and use a bright colour that stands out from all the others on the site.
Photography: Thomas Whiteside for ELLE
Those people taking the time to jump on Twitter to tell the world just how busy they are, or just how many new enquiries they have flooding are not the people running the most successful businesses. The people who are actually busy are way too rushed off their feet to be sat around on Twitter all day telling people about it.
Don’t confuse industry notoriety with success. The truly successful people are not spending their days schmoozing on social media. They’re working their butts off behind the scenes, forming genuine friendships and working as hard as they possibly can for their clients.